5 Things Your Rheumatologist Wants You to Know
Rheumatologists specialize in diseases that affect the joints, muscles, bones and immune system. You may have been referred to a rheumatologist if you have a complex condition that is difficult to treat. This specialist can give you a better idea of what is causing your symptoms and how to manage your discomfort.
As you plan for an appointment with your rheumatologist, here are five things they’ll want you to know.
1. It’s Not Your Fault
Oftentimes, people wonder what they’ve done to cause their symptoms or condition. But it’s important to know that things like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus and type 1 diabetes are not your fault. These are autoimmune conditions that are triggered when the body’s immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy tissues and cells.
Autoimmune conditions are quite common and affect more than 23.5 million Americans. They are also a leading cause of death and disability.
2. You Can Get Answers
Rheumatologists can solve medical mysteries! If you haven’t had much luck with your general practitioner, take comfort in knowing that a rheumatologist will put you on the right track. These doctors are generally very thoughtful and use old-fashioned techniques like talking and listening to make an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.
3. It’s Possible to Avoid Joint Surgery
If you have a joint condition like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, a rheumatologist can help. In fact, they should be the first doctor you see! Why? Because these doctors are skilled in a variety of medications and techniques, such as injections and regenerative techniques, that can help you delay or avoid joint replacement surgery.
4. Your Condition May or May Not Be Active
Before you can make choices about treatment, you should know how active your disease is. “Flares” are a classic sign of autoimmune conditions and refer to a severe and sudden onset of symptoms. Knowing how active your condition is will make a difference in your treatment plan.
For instance, if you have RA, your doctor will classify it as being mild, mild-to-moderate or moderate-to-severe. An advanced case of RA may interfere with your ability to sleep and work. Therefore, your treatment plan will be different than someone with a mild case of RA.
5. Eat Well, Stop Smoking and Stay Healthy
To see the most progress from your treatment plan, you’ll need to do your part in keeping your body healthy. If you’re overweight, now is the time to lose weight so you can take stress off your joints. Eating healthy can also help you manage your symptoms by decreasing inflammation and improving energy. And if you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
Some of the patients at Jersey Rehab have a rheumatologist on their care team, along with one of our pain management doctors. If you are currently battling a condition that affects your muscles, bones or joints, contact us today for an appointment.